Magento is a truly awesome tool for developing ecommerce websites. But while installation is simple, actually managing a store can be tough. As your store grows, you’re likely to have more complex requirements, and there’ll be a need to automate as much of the process as possible.
Whether you’re running a small business, or you’re managing a store for a large client, you’ll eventually hit a wall. Third party tools can help to improve management, as well as giving developers the insight they need to keep the store running efficiently.
We’ve broken down our must-have tools into sections, so it’s easy to locate what you need. And while we’ve focused on free Magento tools wherever possible, we’ve also included premium tools that must be purchased.
Magento Debugging and Development Tools
In order to get to grips with Magento, and root out errors, you’re going to need a little help with debugging. These tools let you dive into the architecture of a Magento page to track down problems, or speed up repetitive tasks.
- Commerce Bug 2: a development tool that makes debugging simple. Quickly find code, identify controllers, and look up class names. ($49.95)
- Magento Debugger: this Chrome extension lets developers instantly access information about database queries, blocks, and models. It also provides a shortcut to the admin password reset function.
- Magento Debug: toggle Magento modules on and off, display RAM usage, and figure out where bottlenecks lie. Instantly clear the cache and toggle template hints on and off.
- EcomDev PHPUnit: This Magento extension lets you quickly integrate the PHPUnit framework for rapid tests of modules, models, blocks, helpers, controller actions, and layout rendering processes.
- Easy Template Path Hints: instantly turn on template path hints in both the front end and backend. Activated by adding a query string to any URL.
- N98 Magerun CLI Tools: described as a “Swiss army knife” for Magento development, this tool lets you instantly run commands. You can also extend the command list and download plugins to increase its functionality.
- Aoe Advanced Template Hints: provides expanded information for each block, compared to the built-in template hints function. Triggered using a query string on the URL.
- Aoe Magento Profiler: replaces the built-in Varien profiler and lets you quickly see which buckets consume the most system memory, and take the longest to load. You don’t need to change core files to use it, and it comes with many pre-configured buckets.
- Mgt Tool($49): a developer’s toolbar that helps you to weed out performance problems and see how each page is rendered.
- Connect Direct Download: download Magento extensions more quickly with this useful Chrome addition. It adds direct download buttons to all extension pages on Magento Connect, so you don’t have to visit the developer’s site to download them.
Magento Migration and Version Checking Tools
For security, it’s important to keep your Magento install up to date. And over time, you may need to move your store to a new server. These extensions let you keep track of required upgrades, and will also help you to quickly move a store from one web host to another.
- Version Check for Magento ($10): a simple Chrome extension that lets you see which version of Magento is in use. It can be used on any website. There’s also a free version that only works with Magento’s Community Edition.
- Up to Date?: keep track of the software versions running on various websites. This Chrome extension supports the Community Edition plus other software, such as Drupal and WordPress.
- Cloud Backup ($159): back up your store data and archive it remotely, in the cloud. Cloud Backup lets you exclude certain database tables, files, and directories. You can also schedule a Cron job to fire the backup automatically. Supports Amazon S3, Google Drive, Dropbox, and Box.net.
- Moving Tool 2.0 ($45): quickly migrates an existing Magento store. This extension generates an Installer package that allows you to perform a near-instant move from server to server. Also available from CodeCanyon.
- CMS and Configuration Migrator (€195): provides an easy way to migrate data from the development environment to live. The extension compiles a list of changes, and then lets you select which ones to push to your live site.
- Import/Export Orders (from $99): export order details from one Magento install to another. Ideal if you’re moving your store, but you want to retain all of those critical past customer details.
Magento Catalog Management Tools
As your store grows, keeping your product catalog up to date becomes more and more time consuming. These tools offer shortcuts that make editing and managing products easier, from the metadata and attributes to the product image size.
- Tigermin ($60): see a quick overview of your product catalog and make quick adjustments to the information. You can also add new products quickly, and clear the cache from within the extension.
- Store Manager (free trial; regular versions from $249): find broken images, locate invisible products, and create sales reports. This extension also creates PDF brochures and import/export order details.
- Mass Product Actions ($139): carry out bulk operations on your Magento product listings. Instantly switch categories, create groups of related products, and copy customization options to several products with one click.
- Product Manager ($399): this extension gives you Excel-like editing capabilities for your entire product catalog. You can edit attributes quickly, and also sort your list using customizable views.
- Product Manager Toolkit (from $249): this extension offers a grid layout for managing Magento product information. You can also check product images quickly, as they are displayed in the grid alongside the metadata. The tool supports multiple administrators working on different subsets of products.
- Multistore Search Fields (€9): if you run more than one store from a single Magento installation, the Advanced Search page can become cluttered. This plugin allows you to customize Advanced Search on a store-by-store basis, so users only see the fields that are relevant to the store they are using.
- Admin Product Grid (from $129): another grid editor for Magento. Quickly add new attributes, set image sizes, and validate the attributes you’ve chosen. The plugin also prevents you from editing “crucial” attributes.
- Bulk Image Uploader (from $99): import images in bulk and quickly assign them to the right products in your Magento store, providing the images have the SKU in the file name. The plugin can upload from your computer, or from a Dropbox folder.
- Age Verification (from $159): asks the customer to confirm their date of birth before adding certain products to their cart. Administrators can customize the age threshold, and apply age restrictions to individual products or entire categories. Age data is saved for future reference.
- Image Optimizer: help your site to load faster by compressing images, on demand or via Cron. Works with gif, jpg and png files.
- Mass Image Uploader ($89): drag and drop images into the product grid, or remove multiple images instantly. The extension allows you to filter the grid and apply updates in bulk.
- Social Media Product Update (€145): automatically push product announcement to your social media channels. Use this extension to send social media updates about new products, or tell people when promotions are running. This plugin uses Buffer to send updates to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and other compatible social networks.
Magento Scheduling Tools
All Magento stores rely on Cron to run automatic jobs in the background. Sometimes, it’s difficult to understand when these jobs are going to fire, or why they’re failing. These plugins are fairly simple, but give you an overview that will help you understand what’s happening with Cron tasks.
- Aoe Scheduler: this extension enhances the built-in Magento Cron feature, and gives you graphical insights into when your jobs are firing, when they are completing, and whether they are successful or not. If you’re having issues with Cron, this will give you a better understanding of where to troubleshoot.
- Centerkom Scheduler: manage all scheduled tasks in a graphical interface. You can also add new Magento Cron jobs and change the time that they are executed.
- Lanot Cron Scheduler: a simple extension that shows a list of your Cron tasks, and lets you add new ones. You can also edit or remove Cron tasks that were not created by the system.
Marketing, Reporting and Analytics Tools for Magento
If you’re going to market to your existing customers effectively, you need ways of identifying what they have already bought, and what they’re likely to buy next. These extensions let you collect data, produce marketing reports and measure conversions.
- Market Segmentation Suite (from $199): segment your Magento customers based on their purchase history, demographics, spending, and engagement. Empowered with this information, you’ll be better informed to create effective marketing campaigns.
- Customer Attributes (from $99): add extra fields to the user registration screen in Magento. You can also prompt existing customers to provide more information about themselves.
- Customer Purchases (from $99): this extension adds an extra tab to the admin interface, so you can see every product that a customer has purchased and drill down to see the details of every order.
- Google Analytics+: add extra functionality to the built-in Google Analytics capabilities within Magento. Track conversions, find checkout abandonment points, and filter reports by customer.
- Sweet Tooth (from $59/mo): build a loyalty program that will inspire repeat purchases. Award points based on purchase value, then let users spend them in your store. Sweet Tool lets users generate points from user referrals and social media shares.
- Product Sales Information (€145): figure out which products are selling best, and find out the average order value over a set period. Generate lists of items sold in a given week or month, and make sure you never run out of stock.
- Product and Profit Ratio (€9): automatically work out the profit and profit ratio on any product. The extension takes VAT and special prices into account.
- Advanced Reports (from $159): a real-time Magento reporting plugin that shows profits, abandoned carts, and stock levels. You can also use this plugin to generate and email PDF reports on a regular basis.
- Promotion Rule Banners (€245): create promotions and associate them with banner ads. This extension automatically displays banners while the promotion is active. Each promotion can have multiple banners, and these can be displayed in multiple locations across your Magento store.
Magento SEO and Navigation Tools
Magento does a reasonably good job of creating optimized content, but there’s always room for improvement. These plugins will help to optimize the experience for both customers and search engines alike.
- Ultimate SEO Suite (from $159): avoid duplicate content that could hamper your position in the SERPs. This plugin will place canonical URLs into any page with the duplicate content, thus telling search engines it’s a legitimate copy of the original. The plugin also puts canonical URLs into your Magento site map.
- CreareSEO: this plugin helps to suppress 404 pages and tackles duplicate content. Use it to apply default meta descriptions for products and categories, create 301s for products you’ve removed, and ensure category headings are always unique.
- SEO Layered Navigation Plus ($99): this plugin helps customers to filter search results, and it also makes the resulting URLs more readable to search engines and customers.
- Improved Navigation ($139): with this extension, you can shorten and clean up URLs to make them more acceptable to search engines, and give users reassurance that they’ve found the right page. You can also create landing pages for particular brands or manufacturers.
Magento Email Tools
Email is critical when running an online store. With these extensions, you can change the default mail behavior within Magento and integrate it with third party tools.
- Custom SMTP (from $99): set custom SMTP servers and view outgoing mail. The extension creates a log so you can see all of the emails that have been sent.
- Custom Form Builder (from $159): create surveys or inquiry forms that customers can fill in as they browse your store.
- SMTP Pro: use custom SMTP servers. Includes support for Google apps, Gmail, AWS Simple Email, and SendGrid.
- MageMonkey: this MailChimp and Mandrill extension lets you send more sophisticated emails from Magento. Using the Mandrill integration, you can send bulk emails quickly, send automated emails on certain dates, and remind customers about abandoned carts to prompt them to complete their purchase. Using the MailChimp integration, you can invite customers to sign up to one or more email marketing lists, and merge Magento customer data into your MailChimp mailing lists.
- Follow Up Email ($149): automatically remind customers about abandoned carts, or prompt them to visit your site with a discount. Customers can also restore their cart contents in a click.
Magento Order and Shipping Management Tools
When a customer places an order, you need to quickly pack and ship their goods, and keep them informed if products are back-ordered. With these tools, you can offer more payment options and control the amount of credit customers can have. You can also ship from multiple warehouses, and print PDFs and labels for your orders.
- COD and Invoice Payment (€9): give your customers the ability to pay on delivery, or on a future date.
- Maximum Order Amount (€155): a handy extension to prevent customers placing extremely large orders on credit when they purchase via COD or invoice payment. This helps to stop customers running up large debts that they can’t pay. The credit limit can be set globally, or for each customer individually.
- Order Tags (from $129): tag your orders and filter them according to the labels you’ve assigned. Tags can be added manually, or automated according to certain rules.
- Backorder Status (€95): this tool extends the default backorder behavior in Magento. It clearly marks back-ordered items, and allocates stock when a delivery comes in.
- Multishipping (from $199): enhance Magento’s native multishipping feature with extra capabilities. This extension allows you to split an order with one click. You can also place all shipments on hold until a pre-selected date.
- Smart Grid Actions (€95): enhances the default grid view with additional actions. This extension is a great tool for quickly marking items as paid, managing prices, and tagging orders as shipped.
- Package List PDF (€95): instantly create a PDF of the items required to fulfill an order.
- Multi-Warehouse Management (from $189): if your stock is stored in multiple locations, this extension helps to accurately calculate the correct shipping cost. The extension will automatically split the order, according to where the various products are located.
- Easy Order Pick & Pack (€395): empower your pickers and packers with this handy extension. They get a mobile-friendly view of all product details, and can optionally use a barcode scanner to tick off items as they are packed. The extension automatically changes the stock level for the orders as they are picked.
- Pending Order Grid (€125): this plugin uses the familiar grid layout to display large amounts of data about pending orders on one screen. All of the other orders are filtered out, so you have a clear and uncluttered view of what’s pending shipment.
- Address Label PDF (€95): create fully customized shipping labels in PDF format. You can control the layout with CSS.
- Uncancel Order (€9): a simple tool to reverse the cancellation flag on an order.
- Direct Debit SEPA (€155): use this extension to collect payments via bank transfer in the EU. Export all transactions in PAIN.008 XML format, and have Magento mark invoices as paid once the transfer is done.
Integration Tools for Magento
Magento can be integrated with a huge number of platforms, blogs, and services. We’ve covered some of the key ones in this section.
- WordPress integration: integrate a WordPress blog into your Magento store. This tool comes with translations to 15 languages, in addition to English.
- MageMonkey: Integrate Magento with MailChimp and Mandrill.
- Facebook Connect and Like: with this extension, you can allow customers to log into your Magento store via Facebook. They can also Like any page in your store.
- Stock Update Push: forces Magento to push the new product quantity to an external URL when a new order comes in. This extension requires Curl.
- Google Cloud Print for PDF (€295): integrate your Google Cloud Print printers directly with Magento. This tool makes printing faster and reduces the amount of clicks needed to print a PDF from Magento.
Export Tools for Magento
Sometimes, you’ll need to export your store data to other marketplaces and platforms. You may also want to turn your store into a printed catalog for a trade show or direct mail campaign.
- PDF Catalog: use this extension to convert your Magento store into a printed PDF catalog. It can also build fliers, data sheets and promotional posters.
- Data Feed (from €95): export your Magento data in csv, txt and XML format, so you can automatically populate your inventory on other sites. It supports Google Shopping, Amazon, Bing Shopping, and other popular stores — in any country or currency.
- Orders Export Tool (from €95): export your Magento orders in csv, txt and XML formats. This plugin can populate many CRM and order management programs. Reports can be sent via email or FTP.
- Inventory Management (from $99/mo): combine your order data from Magento with order data from other stores. This plugin syncs stock availability and lets you report on sales data across all of your stores.
The Power of Magento Tools
Hopefully, this list has given you some idea of the possibilities Magento offers. It’s powerful right out of the box, but with the right extensions, you can extend its capabilities and automate many important tasks.
Further Reading and Resources
We have more guides, tutorials, and infographics related to web hosting and ecommerce:
- How to Start an Ecommerce Site: learn the basics of starting an ecommerce website.
- How Much Does a Website Really Cost? learn how to keep your website safe for those times when things go wrong.
- Black Friday: Get Your ECommerce Site Ready: just as shoppers line up in front of brick and mortar stores for Black Friday, online customers are waiting to pounce.
Ultimate Guide to Web Hosting
If you are going to be creating websites, you are going to need to host them somewhere. Check out our Ultimate Guide to Web Hosting. It will explain everything you need to know in order to make an informed choice.